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Opposition demands probe into sale of GuySuCo assets

first_imgAs pressure mounts for a full-fledged investigation into the sale of assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is also demanding that a probe be conducted.The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)He posited that, now, even the managers at GuySuCo are calling on President David Granger to investigate the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the divestment of assets, but the President opts to remain silent on the matter.“So, guess what Winston Jordan (Finance Minister) has to say? He said investors are walking away from GuySuCo, they don’t want to buy the estates now. Nobody wants to come and invest with this Government; that’s the reality. Nobody wants to invest, they have no confidence in them,” Jagdeo said.The Opposition Leader stated that the Government, specifically the Finance Minister, has repeatedly declared that several potential investors were positive about doing business with the Government in relation to the privatisation of the sugar industry, but now the minister is singing a different tune.“Which investor will want to come, when every day they hear in the news that you are stripping the assets of even the companies you are privatising, the estates you are privatizing? Pricewaterhouse(Coopers) did a register and the register must have been sent to all of the investors, and the investors are hearing, what will they buy into, pay for, these things are not going to be there. These guys are selling out the things…so he (Jordan) now says that all 4 estates are now scrap metal.”According to Jagdeo, the Finance Minister should be cautious as to how he continues to operate in the daily operation of the ministry and agencies that fall under his purview, since he will be held accountable once the PPP regains power and returns to Government.In light of recent reports that NICIL sold and may have undervalued two transmission towers belonging to the GuySuCo, Transparency International GuyanaIncorporated (TIGI) has also been calling for answers.TIGI President, Dr Troy Thomas, recently noted that NICIL’s Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which was created to oversee the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets after the industry was downsized to only three estates, must provide answers on the sale, which sources at GuySuCo allege netted a sub-par price of just $2.1 million.“They must answer questions about how that (transaction) was done, and whether the laws were followed. And if the laws were not followed, then that would come under SARA (State Assets Recovery Agency) at this point, although there can be other agencies. But we definitely need to make sure that things were done properly; and if they were not done properly, then those responsible must be held accountable,” he posited.In fact, Dr Thomas reminded that when Government assets are being disposed of, there should be open tendering to ensure the state receives the best price for its property. He noted that assets could easily be undervalued, and the state would lose money when procurement laws are not followed.Officials from GuySuCo were recently quoted in sections of the media as questioning the sale by NICIL of two GuySuCo transmission towers to Bobby Vieira’s Multicultural Communications Inc for a mere $2.1 million. One of the towers, reports suggest, has since been leased to another company.Another concern was that the assets were not even vested to NICIL.Earlier this month, GuySuCo blasted NICIL for the current troubles with the divestment process, saying that the Unit has left it in the dark about the sale of its own assets.In a strongly-worded statement, in which it accused the SPU of unprofessionalism, GuySuCo criticised NICIL’s approach to the divestment. According to GuySuCo, NICIL has been slothful; and because of this, has not executed any major investments with the process approaching its second year.In addition, GuySuCo slammed NICIL for the current arrangement that sees it pocketing proceeds from the assets it did divest. GuySuCo claimed that it should be the other way around, so that the Corporation could fund its own strategic plan.last_img read more